CHICAGO -- A piece of very good news for Gordon Beckham coming from the 2011 season is that he continues to play flawless defense at second base, producing 58 straight errorless games dating back to Aug. 27, 2010 (266 total chances).
As for the bad news, Beckham is 0-for-8 in his last three games and 2-for-22 in his last eight. He is hitting .175 (11-for-63) at home and just .094 (3-for-32) against left-handed pitchers. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen decided to give Omar Vizquel a start at second on Thursday, riding Vizquel's six-game hitting streak, but didn't seem to be too concerned about Beckham's ongoing battle at the plate.
"The only thing I worry about with Gordon, he strikes out a lot," said Guillen.Beckham's 36 strikeouts in 143 at-bats were second on the team to Adam Dunn's 49 strikeouts in 129 at-bats before Thursday's game.
"He went through a lot of tough times last year and overcame it, came back and was the player we thought he was going to be," Guillen continued. "But right now, he's striking out quite a few times and that worries me. Besides that, nothing, nothing at all. That's part of the game. Vizquel [is playing] because I need to use him, the way he's swinging the bat."
Cooper: Self-inflicted damage Danks' issue
CHICAGO -- Talk of John Danks' unceremonious 0-6 start to the 2011 season has centered on the six quality starts he has made in his nine trips to the mound.
There's no question Danks has deserved a far better fate than this present winless status. But on Thursday, pitching coach Don Cooper made no excuses for one of the up-and-coming southpaws in the game when talking to MLB.com about Danks' last two struggle-filled appearances.
"He hasn't been good those last two starts," Cooper said. "I expect guys to throw strikes and do the job on Christmas Eve if they are called upon. There are no excuses for not throwing it over. You make it tough on yourself."
In 6 1/3 innings of work on Tuesday against the Rangers, Danks matched a career high by issuing six free passes. He has walked more than three in just one other start this season.
One week earlier, Danks gave up six runs on 10 hits over five innings during a loss in Anaheim. Cooper credited Danks for fighting through Tuesday's struggles to reach 6 1/3 innings, giving the White Sox a chance to come back and win. But those free passes remain unacceptable in Cooper's mind for any pitcher on his staff.
"John pitched a courageous, valiant game, but we don't want him in that situation where he walks six guys in six innings," Cooper said. "You make it tough on yourself. The other team wasn't beating you, it's all self-inflicted in many ways. We need to be more efficient than that with the pitches.
"With that being said, he battled and fought and went out for the seventh inning. We wound up winning that game. But we are looking to dominate the game, not slow survival or a slow win. We are looking to dominate."
White Sox to honor LA's Garland, Uribe
CHICAGO -- Dodgers right-hander Jon Garland starts on Saturday against the White Sox, with Mark Buehrle, his old friend and teammate, also on the mound. Infielder Juan Uribe figures to be in that starting lineup against the White Sox southpaw.
Before Friday's game, though, the White Sox plan to honor both valued former members of the organization.
Garland posted a 92-81 record over eight years with the White Sox, also capturing one win the 2005 American League Championship Series. Uribe was the starting shortstop on the 2005 World Series team, recording the final out to complete the sweep of Houston on a slowly hit Orlando Palmeiro grounder up the middle, and was a beloved clubhouse character.
A video tribute will be shown for the duo's first trip back to U.S. Cellular Field.
Buehrle can't figure out NL success
CHICAGO -- Mark Buehrle stands tied with Jamie Moyer for the most all-time Interleague victories at 23, with Buehrle getting a chance to take sole possession of that mark on Saturday against the Dodgers and old friend Jon Garland.Like a number of his other impressive career accomplishments, such as a no-hitter thrown against Texas and a perfect game thrown against the Rays, Buehrle has a hard time explaining his 23-6 record and 3.36 ERA against the National League.
"Just luck, I guess," said Buehrle. "I don't know if you can use it to your advantage that they haven't seen you. But being around the league long enough and with guys having changed leagues, I've probably faced half of those guys."
Buehrle didn't know of his Interleague record-breaking prowess until he was apprised of the matter during an interview. He admits to seeing a stat about it or having the matter brought up every year around the start of Interleague action.
"It means you are healthy and have been around a while," Buehrle said.
But when Buehrle was asked if the 23 Interleague wins meant more than his lone career home run, hit on June 14, 2009, in Milwaukee off Braden Looper, he didn't hesitate to pick the memorable at-bat.
"Personally, the one home run," Buehrle said. "I never thought anything like that would ever happen. Any time a pitcher gets to hit and you get a hit, it's always a plus."
Alexei appears hurt, escapes unharmed
CHICAGO -- One somewhat comical thought went through Ozzie Guillen's mind when Alexei Ramirez appeared to be hit by a Fausto Carmona pitch on the right thumb while squaring around to bunt in the first inning of Thursday's 8-2 victory over Cleveland.
"When I went to the field out there, I thought he was dead," said Guillen with a smile. "He rolled around the plate like someone took the head away on a chicken."
As soon as Carmona's pitch made contact, Ramirez fell to the ground and rolled over three or four times as if he was executing a maneuver out of a stop, drop and roll fire safety video. White Sox athletic trainer Herm Schneider came out to check on him, and Ramirez stayed in the game. He eventually scored on Paul Konerko's two-run, first-inning double and drove home two runs with a double in the second.
Now, the question is whether Ramirez really got hit. The ball certainly made contact with something, but replays show it might have hit off the bat just above his right hand. Ramirez said the pitch got him a little bit.
"At first when it hit me, I was definitely worried because there was pain there," said Ramirez, through translator Jackson Miranda. "But once Herm came out and started squeezing my hand, I felt like there wasn't as much pain. I felt like I was OK."
A more telling answer might have been Guillen starting to laugh when asked about Ramirez's right hand after the game.
"I should call somebody from Hollywood. He's a better actor than shortstop, I guarantee you that," Guillen said. "But, thank God, he was fine."
Third to first
Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches before Thursday's game and seemed to surprise catcher Mark Buehrle with the velocity on his pitch. The bullpen allowed its first earned run in 28 2/3 innings with Tony Pena giving up a solo home run to Matt LaPorta in the ninth inning on Thursday. Adam Dunn has reached base safely 22 times in his last 14 games.